Whatever your stance on climate change is, Philadelphia is preparing for increasing water levels and temperatures.
“The effects of a changing climate are already apparent in Philadelphia," said Katherine Gajewski, Director of Sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, who announced the release of "Growing Stronger," a report on what kinds of climate changes the city expects to see in the next 85 years.
As an example of climate change the city is already seeing, the report states:
Since 2010, Philadelphia has experienced:
• The snowiest winter on record
• The two warmest summers on record.
• The wettest day on record
• The two wettest years on record
• Two hurricanes
• A derecho (a line of intense, widespread, and fast-moving windstorms and sometimes thunderstorms)
"We need to understand what climate change will look like on the ground and how to advance smart, proactive initiatives that will help us to prepare," Gajewski said.
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In part, the report is intended to evaluate how "climate stressors," such as increased heat, more winter precipitation, and a sea level rise "will impact city-owned assets," the report states.
Projections of a four-foot rise in sea levels, for example would bring the Schuylkill right up to the banks where 30th Street Station sits. Such a rise would make more than 30 city-owned facilities are highly or moderately vulnerable to flooding.
Rising water levels in the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers are expected to permanently flood low-lying parts of Philadelphia, the report states.
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"Although Philadelphia lies 90 miles from the coast, its tidal rivers make sea level rise, which is likely to reach two feet by 2050 and four feet by 2100, a particularly important risk for the city," the report states.
The report also states that by 2100, Philly could be experiencing as many as 16 days of tems of 100-degrees, and four to 10 times more days with temps over 95 degrees.
For now, the city report calls for action and adaptation to lessen climate change's impacts on Philadelphia -- such as what would now be the devastating economic damages from a so-called 100-year-flood, estimated to be $600 million.
Read the entire Growing Stronger report.